Petland Employees Drowned Rabbits, Posted Photos on Facebook

We’ve written about pet store chain Petland before, due to their documented use of puppy mills and snarky response to groups that protested said use of puppy mills. Now PETA claims to have found photos on a Petland employee’s Facebook page that show her grinning while holding up the wet, lifeless bodies of two rabbits she had just drowned.

Apparently, the animals were killed to end their suffering. Their suffering due to poor care received from Petland staff.

Yes, we’re more likely to make fun of PETA here at Consumerist, but if this story is true, it’s a big deal and a huge black eye for Petland. From PETA’s press release:

The Facebook photo shows a grinning Carlisle — who worked at the Petland store located at 2000 Brittain Rd., Ste. 41, in Akron — dangling two dead, soaking-wet rabbits by the scruff of their necks. Carlisle confirms a Facebook friend’s guess that she drowned the rabbits, writing, “[T]he manager took the pic for me. [S]he reminded me that there were people outside as [I] was swearing at them to just hurry up and die but then she was so kind as to take this picture.”Carlisle’s other comments indicate that the rabbits had been allowed to “attack” and “eat” each other (behavior that may have been caused by crowding and poor husbandry) while in the store’s “care” and that rabbits had sustained injuries, including “deep wounds all over,” “an eye missing,” what Petland staff “suspected was a broken jaw,” and paralysis from the waist down. The case is currently under criminal investigation by law-enforcement authorities.

If rabbits (or, indeed, any animal) are eating each other, there’s something very, very wrong either with them or with their environment. That’s horrible treatment, even without taking the drowning into account.

There is a (mercifully) blurry picture available that PETA posted on their blog, but you probably don’t want to see it. That’s why this post was illustrated with 100% healthy, alive, fluffy, dry bunnies. (If you must, click here.)

Looking at the picture, the images don’t quite seem to match up with the text. The rabbits look wet, but not dripping, though that may be a photo quality issue. Do Petland employees normally wear scrubs?

EIther way, Petland confirmed the incident when they put out a statement (now taken offline) on Tuesday.

Petland is saddened and outraged at this gross violation of Petland’s animal care standards. It is Petland’s understanding that the employee was instructed to contact the store’s consulting veterinarian, and instead, defied the orders and store policy and acted on her own. She was immediately dismissed and the case is now being handled by local law enforcement. Petland, Inc. is conducting its own internal investigation.

UPDATE: The Akron store has been closed indefinitely, and all animals removed from the store. Petland has issued an updated press release.

Boast Over Animal Killings at Ohio Petland Prompts PETA to Call for an End to Store’s Rabbit Sales [Press Release] (Thanks, Philip!)
Petland Closes Akron Store [Press Release]
Hopping Mad: Petland Shuts Down Akron Shop After Worker Drowns Rabbits, Poses For Pics [WOIO]

(Photo: jpockele)